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How We Can Help: Community Education

If you follow our page, you are likely aware that Blackburn Center provides a number of services to victims of domestic and sexual violence, from our emergency shelter to medical and legal accompaniment to a variety of individual and group counseling options. What you may not realize, however, is just how many services our organization provides to our community. Today, we are highlighting one of these services: education and training programs.

Throughout Westmoreland County, Blackburn Center offers programs to schools and organizations on the topic of sexual and domestic violence and more. These programs are provided free of charge to participants, and are an important part of our community outreach. Our goal is to be sure that any victim knows about Blackburn Center’s victim services, and how to access these services.

In addition to this outreach goal, education programs are a significant strategy in our primary prevention efforts. What does primary prevention mean? Primary prevention has been most commonly used in a healthcare context, but can also be applied in the prevention of violence. In the healthcare context, primary prevention means taking steps to prevent a disease instead of waiting until a person has the disease to respond to it. To apply that in a community setting and Blackburn Center’s mission, we are attempting to address the root causes of gender violence in order to prevent the violence from happening in the first place. We are moving beyond community awareness to community engagement and action in addressing the culture that fuels continued domestic and sexual violence.

We engage in a number of primary prevention efforts, including our social media outreach and our signature annual event, Walk a Mile in her Shoes ®. We also partner with area campuses to expand our education and education efforts, and to provide additional trainings on topics such as bystander intervention. One of the most important components of this initiative is the training and education that we provide to local schools, organizations and businesses. We offer the following programs:

Student Awareness Programs in Westmoreland County schools, preschool through 12th grade, and area colleges. All programs are classroom-based, and both single and multiple-session programs are available. Common threads through all the programs are respect for others, respect for differences, and the right to be safe. Programs cover a wide range of specific topics from child sexual abuse to bullying to internet safety and sexting to healthy relationships, dating violence and media literacy.

Community Education Programs, including speakers for organizations and community groups. Any organization interested in learning more about the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault can schedule a speaker. Topic and length of program are tailored to fit the group's request.

In-Service Trainings for police, medical personnel, teachers, counselors, social workers, and other professionals on the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. These programs equip participants with the skills to provide a victim-centered response to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and are tailored to fit the group's request.

Through the support of our community, we are able to provide these programs free of charge. They are truly critical to educating our students and community, including our leaders and public officials, as well as to our efforts to end gender violence in Westmoreland County and beyond. If you would like to schedule one of these, contact our office at 724-837-9540. You can also donate to help support ongoing training and education programs here, and help our efforts to make our community a safer place to live!

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